The intestinal mucosa is exposed to fluctuations in oxygen levels due to constantly changing rates of oxygen demand and supply and its juxtaposition with the anoxic environment of the intestinal lumen. This frequently results in a state of hypoxia in the healthy mucosa even in the physiologic state. Furthermore, pathophysiologic hypoxia (which is more severe and extensive) is associated with chronic inflammatory diseases including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), a ubiquitously expressed regulator of cellular adaptation to hypoxia, is central to both the adaptive and the inflammatory responses of cells of the intestinal mucosa in IBD patients. In this review, we discuss the microenvironmental factors which influence the level of HIF activity in healthy and inflamed intestinal mucosae and the consequences that increased HIF activity has for tissue function and disease progression.
- Copyright © 2017, Journal of Applied Physiology